Beautiful models in bright colors on the runway of the Naeem Kahn NYFW SS17 collection

NYFW: How Does Fashion Week Work?

In Behind-the-Scenes by Melissa Shea

One of the questions I receive most often is simply, “How does Fashion Week work?” I also hear “How do you get invited?” and “Who is invited?” When I attended my first New York Fashion Week I didn’t really know what to expect. But now after covering Fashion Week for almost a decade, I can actually answer those questions with a little bit more experience to back it up.

The process for getting into New York Fashion Week has changed significantly since my early days at Bryant Park. It was a challenge to get in then and remains so today, but with quite a few differences. In the space of 10 years, IMG has moved NYFW from Bryant Park, to Lincoln Center, and for the last several years, various locations around NYC but primarily at Skylight Clarkson Square in West Soho.

In order to receive admission into Fashion Week, press and media outlets like ours apply for credentials in advance and are approved by IMG for access. But in order to actually get a riser position, go backstage or interview a designer, we must send requests to the designers, which can take weeks of work to send emails, manage responses and plan your media teams schedule. Often you won’t even know if you have access to a show until the day of the show. The only way to get access to the designer’s PR teams for approval is by getting a Market Week subscription to the Fashion Calendar, now owned by the CFDA. This calendar will have every show during NYFW – not just IMG shows.

If you’re a blogger, you can often get a seat at a fashion show, especially for emerging designers who are eager for coverage. You must still go through the same process, sending individual emails to each designer, but once you have your invitation, you’ve got a seat or standing room permission. Check out these helpful NYFW blogger tips from our Style Editor, Shalanda Turner of Live Life in Style.

Security is TIGHT at NYFW. So don’t think there is any way to get past security. If you’re media, you must check in backstage to get your riser pass or backstage pass. If you have an invitation with a seat / standing assignment, you can go through security at the main entrance. If you have questions, security, IMG volunteers and staff will always cheerfully help you. Once you’re in the venue, you can check in using the self check-in kiosk or wait in line at the checkin booth. You receive your “ticket” with your seating assignment and a barcode that they scan upon entry. Once you’re in the venue, you find your seat or push your way into a good spot in the standing area and wait for the show to begin, celeb spot and chat with your fellow fashion friends.

Then the moment you have been waiting for comes…lights go down…music starts…and it begins!

About Melissa Shea

Melissa Shea is the co-founder of Fashion Mingle and has spent over 20 years in the creative industry fueled by a love of learning about the “next new thing”. Melissa has used her entrepreneurial passion and technology skills to develop an online platform for fashion professionals that will transform the future for local fashion communities.

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